Help! My Cat is Vomiting – What to Do


Vomiting is a common issue for cats, with studies estimating that 14-20% of feline cases present with chronic vomiting. Cats vomit for many reasons, including dietary sensitivities, infections, parasites, foreign bodies, kidney disease, and pancreatitis. Frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and weight loss in cats if left untreated. Severe, persistent vomiting warrants a veterinary visit to diagnose and resolve the underlying cause.

According to Vet Focus, a 2021 study found 14,039 cats presented with chronic vomiting alone, making it a leading feline health complaint. Cats that vomit frequently can suffer reduced quality of life and health complications over time. Proper nutrition, hydration, and medical care are important for supporting cats prone to vomiting episodes.

Diagnosing the Cause

It’s important to try to identify the underlying cause of your cat’s vomiting so that the proper treatment can be provided. Some common causes of feline vomiting include:

  • Hairballs – Cats groom themselves constantly, ingesting hair that can accumulate in the stomach and esophagus, eventually being vomited up. Hairballs are a very common cause of vomiting in cats.
  • Infections – Gastrointestinal infections from parasites, viruses, or bacteria can lead to irritation of the stomach and vomiting.
  • Food allergies or intolerances – Cats may have adverse reactions to ingredients in food, causing digestive upset and vomiting.
  • Foreign objects – Cats are prone to eating and swallowing objects like string or plastic, which can get lodged in the intestines and cause obstructions.
  • Kidney disease – Feline kidney disease can cause stomach upset, nausea and vomiting.

Diagnostic tests like bloodwork, fecal screens for parasites, x-rays, or endoscopies may be needed for a vet to determine the exact cause in complicated cases of chronic vomiting. But paying attention to circumstances around episodes of vomiting can also help decipher common causes.

Dietary Changes

One of the most effective ways to help a cat that is vomiting frequently is to switch them to a bland, easily digestible diet. According to For Vomiting Cats’ Best Cat Food To Stop Vomiting In 2024 from, a bland diet will be gentle on your cat’s stomach and help reduce instances of vomiting. Canned or wet food is often recommended, as it contains more moisture and is easier to digest than dry kibble.

Feeding your cat a homemade diet of boneless, skinless boiled chicken or beef mixed with broth can help settle their stomach. Bone broth, whether homemade or store-bought, provides hydration and nutrients while being gentle on the stomach. According to Blah, Blah, and More Blah! Bland Diet Instructions for Dogs and Cats from VCA Hospitals, bone broth can be fed to cats when vomiting occurs to help prevent dehydration.

Gradually transition back to your cat’s normal food over several days once vomiting subsides to avoid upsetting their stomach again. In some cases, switching to a sensitive stomach or easily digestible cat food formula long-term may be necessary.

Anti-Nausea Medications

There are several medication options that can help relieve nausea in cats. Some anti-nausea medications are available over-the-counter, while others require a prescription from your veterinarian.

An over-the-counter option is Pepcid (famotidine), an H2 blocker that can help reduce nausea and vomiting. The typical dosage for cats is 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound every 12-24 hours.

Cerenia (maropitant) is a veterinary prescription medication specifically developed to treat vomiting in dogs and cats. It blocks certain receptors involved in nausea and vomiting. Cerenia is available as an injectable solution or oral tablets. Vets often prescribe Cerenia for a few days after a major surgery or chemotherapy to prevent nausea. One study found Cerenia helped decrease vomiting episodes in cats by 81% over 5 days compared to 19% for a placebo (source).

Another prescription anti-nausea medication sometimes prescribed for cats is ondansetron (Zofran). Ondansetron works by blocking serotonin receptors to reduce nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy or anesthesia. Dosage is typically 0.1 to 1 mg per pound given 1-2 times daily.

Always consult your vet before giving any medication to your cat. They can recommend the safest and most effective anti-nausea medication based on your cat’s health history and symptoms.

Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can improve digestion and gut health in cats. Probiotics help repopulate the digestive tract with good bacteria to compete with bad bacteria that can cause vomiting and diarrhea (source). Specific probiotic strains like Enterococcus faecium and Bifidobacterium lactis can help regulate gastrointestinal motility and strengthen the gut mucosal barrier (source).

Digestive enzymes help break down food into nutrients that can be absorbed. Enzyme supplements containing proteases, lipases, and amylases can improve digestion of proteins, fats, and carbs. By improving digestion and nutrient absorption, digestive enzymes may reduce vomiting caused by undigested food (source).

Together, probiotics and digestive enzymes support gut health and aid digestion. For cats prone to vomiting, supplements containing probiotics and enzymes can repopulate the gut with beneficial bacteria for better digestion.

Hairball Remedies

One of the most common causes of vomiting in cats is hairballs. As cats groom themselves, they ingest hair that can build up in their stomach and eventually cause vomiting as the hairball passes through their system. There are several remedies that can help cats pass hairballs and prevent vomiting:

Laxatives like Vaseline or lactulose can help lubricate the hairball and allow it to pass through more easily. According to The Spruce Pets, products like Tomlyn Laxatone Gel are veterinarian-recommended laxatives that are easy to administer and come in multiple flavors. The gel coating allows the laxative to stick to the hairball and loosen it.

Special hairball treats or food can add extra fiber to help move hairballs through the digestive tract. As mentions, Greenies Feline SmartBites contain a fiber blend formulated to supplement a hairball control diet.

Regular brushing helps remove loose hair before it is ingested. Brushing once or twice a week can significantly reduce hairball vomiting by removing hair before it enters the stomach.


Keeping your cat hydrated when they are vomiting is extremely important. Dehydration can occur quickly in cats and lead to serious health complications. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, the most common causes of dehydration in cats are diseases that cause increased water loss, such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If your cat is showing signs of dehydration such as lethargy, sunken eyes, dry gums, or weakness, it’s important to get them to the vet right away for fluid therapy. Your vet will administer intravenous or subcutaneous fluids to rehydrate your cat and restore normal fluid balance. According to WebMD, traumas and vomiting are common causes of dehydration in cats.

To help encourage water intake at home, always provide fresh, clean water in a bowl that is washed daily. You can also try offering flavored waters or broths to entice your cat to drink. Feeding wet cat food rather than only dry food is another way to increase fluid intake.

Monitor your cat’s hydration status carefully when they are vomiting and take them to the vet promptly if dehydration is suspected. Proper hydration is essential for your cat’s health.

Home Comforts

Providing a warm, quiet space away from stress can help a vomiting cat feel more relaxed and comfortable. Allow your cat access to a room with soft bedding and minimal noise or household activity. Make sure the room is warm but not overly hot. You can provide a heating pad on low under a blanket for soothing warmth.

Gentle petting and massage can also help soothe an upset stomach. Use light pressure and rub in circular motions along the back and sides. Avoid direct pressure on the abdomen. The soothing touch and calming pheromones from petting can reduce nausea. Just a few minutes of gentle attention can relax your cat during this stressful time.

Vet Visit

Seeking prompt veterinary care is important if your cat is vomiting repeatedly or showing concerning symptoms like lethargy, lack of appetite, or diarrhea ( Your vet will run tests to check for underlying issues and determine the cause of the vomiting. They may do bloodwork, urinalysis, X-rays, or an ultrasound. Treatment will depend on the diagnosis, but could include IV fluids, anti-nausea medication, dietary changes, antibiotics, or other medications to address the underlying condition.

It’s a good idea to take a fresh sample of your cat’s vomit to the vet appointment. Providing this sample and keeping track of when and how often your cat vomits will help the vet determine next steps for testing and treatment ( The sooner you can get your cat examined and treated, the better the outcome will be.


To help prevent your cat from vomiting in the future, focus on the following prevention methods:

Hairball control – Cats groom themselves frequently, ingesting hair that can build up into hairballs. Brushing your cat regularly helps remove loose hair. Feeding a hairball control cat food formula or treats can help cats pass hairballs and reduce vomiting. Products like hairball laxatives and lubricants can also help cats pass hairballs more easily.

Diet – Feed your cat high-quality food designed for their age and activity level. Wet food can help with hydration. Avoid sudden diet changes and overfeeding. Feed smaller, frequent meals if your cat scarfs down food too quickly. Keep their eating routine consistent.

Exercise/play – Get kitties moving to aid digestion and prevent weight gain. Engage them in active playtime daily with interactive cat toys. Provide opportunities for climbing, scratching, and exploring.

Reduce stress – Stress can upset a cat’s digestive system. Keep litter boxes clean, ensure they have comforting resting areas, minimize changes to their routine, and diffuse calming pheromones if they seem anxious.

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